Book Name: Little Maryam
Author: Hamid Baig
Publisher: Notion Press, India
Reviewed by: Rakesh, contributor to Book Reviews Lab
Rating – **** 4/5 stars
I have been reading romance. I have read some of the most-celebrated romance novels ever written – yes, I have read ultra-romantic like El James’ too. There is a basic difference between a romance novel and an explicit novel – first focuses on love and the second focuses on ‘how they make love’ and I don’t like the second either (not much, actually). Hamid Baig’s novel, Little Maryam, has made no use of the second tool anywhere and he has tried to capture the true emotions of love. What I liked the most about Little Maryam is that the author has kept his vocation very controlled. However, his ‘more than necessary’ focus on the character of Saadiq sometimes look overdone and it, to an extent, lets the readers want something else in the narrative.
The story is centralised upon the characters Saadiq and Maryam – the lovebirds who have been together since their very childhood and are committed to each other. Saadiq comes from a lower class family – his father is a well-known gardener in Dehradun. Maryam is the daughter of a rich father – a colonel in Indian army. Does love know anything? And yes, you could already have understood the progress of this affair – ending in separation but not so conventional, rather in a different manner that you could not have imagined. Saadiq, with mountains of hell coming down on him, goes to jail, loses Maryam, sees his father die and comes out of prison when he has been robbed of his fortune!
Maryam is married to someone else; Saadiq is letting the iron of his fate be forged by time before taking the stead and making himself into a well-known doctor who goes on winning the Nobel Prize… see the luck?
And they meet again – in different circumstances – Maryam is changed and old – Dr Saadiq Haider is old and famous. What will happen next? There will be so many things that they would like to share with each other and many secrets to unfold and be known… you will enjoy the later part of the novel.
The most interesting part of the novel is its method of storytelling. Hamid Baig has done good enough in his very debut to keep the readers occupied with the story. One after one, another after another, fold after fold, twist after twist – the narrative will have its grip never loosened on the readers.
The plot, however, is a little more straight – like a Bollywood movie. You will feel it when you read the novel and make progress. Nevertheless, if the plot in the middle becomes like a movie, the ending is nothing lesser than a Hollywood movie. You will love it because it is emotionally charged and pathos is never far! Yes, Maryam and Saadiq shine in the novel; they are meant to shine.
In short, Little Maryam is a novel which will make the readers’ day! One time readers will have a lot to enjoy and their dose of entertainment will be complete. It is also designed in a way that readers will like to finish it one go and they can do so within 8-9 hours. So, what are you doing this Saturday? Let’s read this great novel by Hamid and enjoy the contemporary fiction without the contemporary methods. You will like it better than many others.
review by Rakesh